Clash of the Titans: Putin takes on Hollande; Depardieu shouts “release the Kraken.”
Post Cold-War absurdist smackdown of epic proportions, fit for Ripley's Believe-It-Or-Not, with a Kafkaesque twist.
Multi-millionaire French acteur who loves Fidel Castro flees his homeland to avoid high taxes imposed by socialist regime, and the bare-chested heroic semi-dictator of Russia comes to his aid. Who could have imagined this back in 1988? Russia? It's Russia that offers a tax haven for ultra-rich French hypocrites who praise the Cuban so-called Revolution?
Yeah. Putin clobbers Hollande with a folding chair and then tosses the bespectacled socialiste over the ropes and out of the ring. And he rides away from the wrestling venue on a Great White shark.
Maybe this is the clearest hint we can have that the world will not end today, after all, as the Mayans predicted. An abrupt ending to this hilarious farce would be poetically unjust.
One thing for sure, whether or not the world ends: this comedy of errors offers us clear proof that socialism is a severe and incurable psychiatric disorder.
So, as the Obamanoids are fond of saying: Forward!
From Reuters (the same news agency that plagiarizes from Granma for its reports from Cuba).
Vladimir Putin offers Gerard Depardieu a Russian passport in actor's efforts to escape French taxes
President Vladimir Putin offered French actor Gerard Depardieu a Russian passport on Thursday, saying he would welcome the 63-year-old celebrity who is embroiled in a bitter tax row with France's socialist government.
Weighing into a dispute over a hike in taxes, Putin heaped praise on Depardieu, making the offer of citizenship in response to a question during his annual televised press conference.
"If Gerard really wants to have either a residency permit in Russia or a Russian passport, we will assume that this matter is settled and settled positively," Putin said.
French daily Le Monde reported on Tuesday that Depardieu had told his close friends he was considering three options to escape France's new tax regime: moving to Belgium, where he owns a home, relocating to Montenegro, where he has a business, or fleeing to Russia.
"Putin has already sent me a passport," Le Monde quoted the actor as jokingly saying.
Depardieu is well-known in Russia where he has appeared in many advertising campaigns, and in 2012 he was one of several Western celebrities invited to celebrate the birthday of Ramzan Kadyrov, Chechnya's Kremlin-backed leader.
He also worked in Russia last year on a film about the life and times of the eccentric Russian monk Grigory Rasputin.
He has already inquired about how to obtain Belgian residency rights and said he plans to hand in his French passport and social security card.
In what has become an ugly public dispute, France's Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault criticized Depardieu's announcement as "pathetic" and unpatriotic. The actor hit back, accusing France of punishing success and talent.
But Putin said he thought the feud was the result of a "misunderstanding".
The 60-year-old former KGB spy said he was very friendly with Depardieu, saying he thought the actor considered himself a Frenchman who loved the culture and history of his homeland.
Belgian residents do not pay a wealth tax, which in France is now levied on those with assets over 1.3 million euros ($1.7 million). Nor do they pay capital gains tax on share sales.
Hollande is also pressing ahead with plans to impose a 75-percent super tax on income over 1 million euros.
Russia has a flat income tax rate of 13 percent.